My daughter comes home from the hospital today. She's been there since Monday. We admitted her once again for suicidal thoughts/behavior, and a generalized suicide plan, rampant cutting, and debilitating depression. Monday was not a great day.
I've been thinking a great deal since leaving Tabitha Monday morning.
In spite of everything, I am happy. I don't understand why. I just am.
I have reasons to be unhappy. Many of those reasons have been detailed here and in other blogs I keep. There have definitely been times when I've felt unhappy.
I understand suicidal feelings. I've experienced them. I know how it feels to believe death must be better than a current life situation.
I understand depression. I've felt it. I know that sometimes there are external reasons for, or physical causes of depression, and sometimes there are not.
I understand eating disorders and cutting and false self-images and lack of self-esteem.
I know about loneliness.
Each time the above entities have reared their ugliness in my life, I've chosen not just to live, but to be happy. It wasn't a conscious choice, but it was a choice all the same. Sometimes it took awhile for me to find that happiness (or for it to find me), but eventually it arrived.
What I do not understand: my daughter.
For a few months I have allowed her anxiety and depression to interfere with my life to the point that I felt I no longer had one. That time is gone.
For a few months I have felt so much stress that I could not sleep at night and I dreaded arising in the morning. I no longer feel that.
For a few months I have longed to be free of my daughter and her problems. Today I will welcome her home without reservation.
What my daughter does not understand about me: It has become impossible for me to live in unhappiness. I can't do it. It seems that no matter how fast my unhappy feet can run, happiness is swifter--it inevitably overtakes me. And when I occasionally find myself running faster than normal, happiness simply runs in the opposite direction, circles around, and collides with me. I can't avoid it.
So while she remains in the morass of her depression, and continues to mutilate her body, and refuses to take her medication or use the provided therapy tools, or move beyond whatever hurts her now--I cannot stay with her in that place. Happiness moves me beyond it.
Today my daughter comes home. I will greet her, as I greet every person who enters my door, with my customary smile. She'll be hugged and kissed and loved as she always has been. I will encourage, and draw healthy boundaries, go to family therapy, and protect myself from being drawn into her nightmare. I will concentrate on doing the exercises and therapy assignments and daily projects which help me remain Samantha.
Daily I will walk with happiness, because it's so much easier to do that than to attempt avoiding it. Sometimes, at night, I will wonder why my face feels funny, and I'll realize it's because I'm still smiling even while I try to sleep. I will watch with awe as my royal purple irises bloom, wake to birdsong and sunlight in the morning, enjoy endorphins as I run, and plant herbs and tomatoes and beautiful flowers in my garden. I will inhale the scent of green as I mow the lawn. I will bake cookies, make up new recipes, and squeeze fresh lemons for lemonade. I will laugh and dance and turn in circles when I think no one is looking. I will sing.
I will live.
Because I am happy.